The Coronavirus pandemic has created a unique set of challenges for HR and payroll professionals, and a need to act quickly and to changes to maintain both business continuity and employee well-being.
Managing payroll, tracking leaves and accrued time off, and remaining compliant with changing legislation are just some of the concerns that are top of mind for HR and payroll professionals currently.
Based on the most frequently asked questions we’re getting from our customers, our support team has put together this list of suggestions to help HR and payroll managers using HCM software navigate through the changes.
Companies may want to ask employees to update their personal details and contact information to help reduce disruptions in communications and scheduling, or in the event that HR teams need to generate records of employment or related information.
- Confirm that employee addresses, contact information, and emergency contact information on file are up to date
- Get employees to update their preferences, such as updating their schedule availability and time away from work to ensure they’re taking time to attend to their personal needs
Payroll processing and delivery
Companies may quickly have to pivot and change work arrangements in response to COVID-19. HR and payroll professionals may need to make adjustments to their payroll processing and delivery, particularly when it comes to time tracking and changing how pay is delivered to employees.
Here are some suggestions to help manage time tracking requirements in response to changing legislation in the U.S. and new working arrangements for COVID-19.
- Create new pay/earnings codes to track different situations, such as:
- Sick time away from work related to COVID-19
- Hours spent on COVID-19 task force projects and support
- Paying employees for additional time or hours that they wouldn’t otherwise be paid
- Tracking leave related to, for example, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in the U.S., which includes a temporary expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a temporary paid sick leave entitlement related to COVID-19
- Create or change reason codes for taking time off
Here are some ways to help ensure continuity in pay delivery in response to changing circumstances:
- If they don’t use it already, switch employees to direct deposit instead of paper checks
- If employees don’t want to switch to direct deposit, reroute their checks to be delivered to their home addresses
- Change earnings statements and tax forms to be accessible via electronic statements and self-service, or, if employees prefer, print or mail-to-home
- If they’re using a cloud HCM software solution, payroll professionals can access and process payroll from anywhere, so this will minimize disruptions in the event that they are working from home or away from their usual office locations
Some employers use time clocks to make it easier to track when employees punch in and out of work – and this also removes cumbersome nature of manual time tracking.
Following recommended hygienic measures, implementing social distancing, and ensuring employee safety should be top of mind for employers. This is especially critical for employees that are still physically going to work, or working across several locations. For employers using time clocks, here are some considerations, in addition to properly cleaning the clocks:
- Create grace periods around punches to stagger the number of employees at the clock and allow for more frequent cleaning
- Enable mobile punching, where employees punch in and out from their own mobile devices, or punching in at a web clock, which works from web-enabled devices
- Change settings to temporarily disable biometric punching
Reports can provide a high-level, organization-wide view of your workforce, and help you to understand various employees’ unique circumstances.
- Run reports on leaves taken related to COVID-19 to see how broadly your team is affected. Leave types can be due to self-isolation, caring for an individual, or because an employee has contracted the illness
- Track the well-being of your entire workforce – whether virtual, temporarily working from home, or performing critical functions on location – to better understand risk to employees and to operations. Keep track of employee locations to understand their exposure, and understand their self-reported status day-to-day
It’s critical to quickly and frequently communicate with employees about the company’s crisis management policy, business updates, or messages from company execs. Here are some considerations from a communications plan perspective:
- Create alerts or announcements on your HCM or employee portal for all-staff announcements
- Communicate to all employees to update their personal contact details and emergency contact information
- Provide tips, guidelines, and best practices related to your company’s own plans and policies via learning and training videos in your learning portal